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Literature & Fiction

Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Author: Richard Bach
Book title: Jonathan Livingston Seagull
ISBN: 0899668038
ISBN13: 978-0899668031
Publisher: Buccaneer Books (June 1, 1991)
Language: English
Rating: 4.5/5
Votes: 668
More formats: txt mbr docx mbr

Reviews: (7)
This is a version that includes a lot of material edited out of the original. I don't think this adds a single thing to the story, which was perfect as previously told in the original edition. The added material is largely redundant and superfluous. The added material also adds a lot of needless religious links that subtract from the universality of the knowledge conveyed in the original edition. This book was one of the best stories of the decade. This new edition hacks it up and tries to beat the religion and anti-religion drum. Save yourself a lot of disappointment and aggravation - just read the original. This one needs the good editing it got when it was first published.
Much as I loved the original, for it's allegoric value and depth, the complete version actually looses on deeper message the original conveyed. There is a saying that says, something is not perfect when there is nothing more you can add to it, but when there is nothing that you can take from it. This falls firmly in that category. Still, enjoyable, but recommended only for us hard core fans of Richard Bach.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull made a huge impression on me as an adolescent in the late 70s. My attention focused on memoir now, I recalled Jonathan and his struggle for enlightenment and freedom. I couldn't find my childhood favorite in my stash so I ordered the newest edition. To my delight I discovered a Part Four and Last Words by the author added to the story!

I read Jonathan to my 13-year-old boys and they absorbed it with serious attention. "Wow, that's deep" and lots of commentary along the way let me know it is just as powerful for my generation of kids as it was for me.

Reading as an older adult brought a whole new level of appreciation for Jonathan's struggles and achievements. It also led me to purchasing more stories by Richard Bach. An author of amazing talent with his own story of flight I will never tire of reading.
This book has been read and reread and given as gifts for the soul purpose that it is an inspirational story about a seagull who didn't follow and became a seagull that the others admired for his courage. This book is for any age and for people to realize anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Once you read this book it stays with you for as long as you are alive,
I came by Jonathan Livingston Seagull by means of my father who often spoke highly of the book and how it had left a great impact on him in high school. Despite these frequent references to the text I never sought out a copy of the book until now. Recently I (age 20) went to the beach with my father where upon looking at the gulls he began reminiscing on the text one more. This time when he brought the book up something inside me ticked and that was all the motivation I needed to pick up my own copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

The novella tells the story of Jonathan Livingston, a young, brash seagull who constantly defies his flock's traditions in a quest to become the fastest seagull who ever lived. He is expelled from the flock for his behavior, but this doesn't break his spirits. Jonathan ascends to a higher state of being to join the few other gulls who sought speed same as he did. From here Jonathan returns to the gulls yet to achieve this state of nirvana and helps guide them on the path to self-perfection. Keep in mind that all of this happens over the course of a mere 111 pages (a good portion of which happen to be pictures).

From the moment I opened the book I was in love. As a college student I can see why Bach's novel took the world by storm when it was first published. The story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is contagiously inspirational, easily winning me over. It is a fable for the modern era that overwhelms the senses with its high-soaring optimism and the idea that any barrier --even death-- is only one imagined by the individual on the road to self-perfection. So profound was the impact of this short little novella that when I finished the text I set it down and thought. For almost an hour I just sat on my bed and thought over the ideas I'd just been presented to; how the tale of a seagull had touched something deep within me. It was pure magic the likes of which few books have kindled within me. Reading the book once turned out not to be enough, and I found myself downloading a copy to my Kindle so that I'd have continued access to it on-the-go.

I sincerely believe everyone could learn from this modern fable. Same as with most books that can be categorized as spiritual or inspirational not everyone will likely be impacted the same way. Some may write it off as childish, but If you strive for more, and constantly wish to break your limits than the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull will no doubt touch you.

If you allow yourself to be carried away by the high-flying optimism of Jonathan Livingston Seagull you're in for a magical journey of heart and mind.
I recently re-read this great book because I saw that there is now the additional Part Four (and an afterword that tells why/how, after 40 years, it has been added - Nice!). I decided to read and enjoy the book again - absorbing the message newly, smile at the "original" end (as I knew I would) and, then, read the new part and the added afterword.

Without any doubt, JLS is one of the best - if not the best - "messengers" for the idea that we... Ayy! Read it! Enjoy the message your way!

JLS ends wonderfully in Part Three, which is the way anyone would have gotten it before 2014. The new part is a nice addition. The newly added Part Four looked like it was going to be mildly superfluous - right up until the last page; however, I could see why it was originally written and originally not included. I am glad that it was added and glad that he didn't add it until now. Now, it is timely (in my opinion). I am also more than glad that he included the explanatory afterword, called "Last Words".

Something that I noticed this time, having read "Illusions" many times since reading JLS, is that "Illusions" really does fill out the concept that JLS gives. He states as much in the "Illusions" foreword and while re-reading JLS, I easily and comfortably saw the clarifying and concept-extending nature of "Illusions". I used to call "Illusions" my favorite book - bar none, but I now look at JLS and "Illusions", together, as my favorite: the first sets up the second and, to me, does it such that they take on a character where their combination is more exhilarating than either one by itself. That is pretty cool (to me)!

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